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Just Said Yes July 2021

How to Navigate Indoor/outdoor Reception

Sarah, on March 1, 2021 at 6:45 PM Posted in Wedding Reception 1 13
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I recently booked a venue that I'm in love with-- it's an old Victorian house, and the space for the reception is actually an old cellar downstairs. I really like the space-- it's got a ton of character with wooden beams and old white-washed brick, but it's divided into a few different rooms, and on top of that, it doesn't have enough space to comfortably seat everyone. I thought it would be fine to have tables outside as well so that guests could take their pick of where they'd like to sit, but now, the more I think about it, I feel like everything is going to be so chaotic. The food will be served buffet-style indoors, and I'm really worried about the flow of traffic in such a small space. Also, my family is really against assigned seating, but it seems like assigned seats could lessen the amount of chaos/people standing around in everyone's way. I just don't really know how to organize this. I would prefer assigned seating and calling people to get food one at a time, but I don't want to have to make the choice of who sits inside and who sits outside (not that one would necessarily be nicer than the other-- the outside seating would be on the front lawn of the house under huge oak trees and with tons of string lights). I also am not sure how to go about things like the cake-cutting if all of the rooms downstairs are relatively small. Has anyone been to a wedding like this? What should I do/not do?

13 Comments

Latest activity by Allie, on March 2, 2021 at 4:38 PM
  • Paige L.
    Super September 2021
    Paige L. ·
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    Assign seats. It will make life so much easier for everyone! Your instincts are spot on.
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  • A
    Dedicated March 2021
    Annika ·
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    I’ve been to a two room wedding when I was younger (so similar to your indoor/outdoor) and I felt so removed from the wedding.
    I guess it depends on the layout and maybe it makes sense, but I’d also consider another venue or cut the guest list down.
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  • S
    Just Said Yes July 2021
    Sarah ·
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    This is exactly what I'm afraid of. We're on a bit of a budget and the venue was half the price of everything else in the area, so we jumped on it and already paid the deposit. I'm just now realizing why it was so much cheaper. I guess I'm going to just have to get creative with ways to lay things out that won't exclude people (like maybe doing more things on the lawn where everyone can come watch if they feel like it).

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  • S
    Just Said Yes July 2021
    Sarah ·
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    This seems like the only real way to do it the more that I think about it. Thanks!

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  • Hanna
    VIP June 2019
    Hanna ·
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    I personally wouldn't book a venue if it didn't have enough seating to accommodate all of your guests. Every butt needs a chair! What if it's raining the day of your wedding? That wouldn't be fair to those who have to sit outdoors

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  • S
    Just Said Yes July 2021
    Sarah ·
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    We'll have plenty of seating! Originally what we were thinking is to have tons of seating inside and outside so that people could pick where they wanted to sit, but now I'm worried about that being chaotic/ people awkwardly standing and bunched up everywhere. The venue is actually awesome and has another space they'll give us for free if it rains!

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  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
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    If weather permits, all sit outside. And use indoors for a place to sit waiting for a rest room. And some food stations. Just a light sun canopy would do to cut the sun. You don't need to assign seats, but assign tables. Maybe an indoor area where a few can sit with a photo album or phone loop if you want one.

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  • S
    Just Said Yes July 2021
    Sarah ·
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    These are great ideas!! Thank you! Smiley smile

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  • A
    Dedicated March 2021
    Annika ·
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    I see, yeah you’ll have to be creative. I’m sure you’ll come up with something. At least you’re aware of it (not like the couple who’s wedding I was referring to). Good luck, I’m sure it will be great.
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  • mrswinteriscoming
    Rockstar December 2021
    mrswinteriscoming ·
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    I would 100% assign seating – as a guest I hate not having assigned seating – even if you know people at the wedding, it is chaotic trying to round everyone up and find a table, particularly if you happen to be in a large group where not everyone will all fit at the one table.

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  • K
    Devoted October 2021
    Kristen ·
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    I’ve been to a wedding in a smaller multi-room space, and there were some odd traffic flows, but overall it worked just fine! If there is a way to make the outdoor area feel less like a second tier location, that would be great. Maybe do cake cutting, toasts, or first dances outside? Or set up a second buffet station or dessert table there if you have enough people to justify it? Try to spread decor between the spaces and add signs if it isn’t very clear that that there are multiple spaces. Lastly, definitely do assigned seating (you don’t want fights over chairs if anyone thinks you ran out!) and put people outside who will be the least likely to take offense (ie, most likely your friends not family).
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  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
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    You will need to work out an alternative rainy day set up. Have a tent rental set up. But you have all the tables and chairs so that would not be too expensive. If you live where the weather is fairly predictable a few days in advance, you might only get stuck with 10% of the rental fee, for their setting it aside and booking a crew, but cancelling with a day of notice. Much of clean food service is speedily going to the buffet once cooked, and from fridge to buffet. I have done meal catering in small historic houses, and using the building just for the power, the facilities, and the catering means you can keep it attractive as a series of shops, each with their specialty display.
    You eill want to work out your decorating space vs the caterer's needs, so you complement their food displays and wont get in each other's way. Does it have the usual Victorian first floor of each room off a central hallway, front to back, with kitchen in back, and one side with a sitting porch? You could do a lot with it.
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  • Allie
    Rockstar November 2021
    Allie ·
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    Assigned seating--I would HIGHLY recommend you assign seats. I've been to a few weddings where there was none and they were a nightmare. People don't realize how difficult it is to work out logistics of just sitting down, and for those people who may not know a lot of people, it's better for you to put them with a group you think they'll get along with than to leave them trying to figure it out.

    Outdoor/indoor--I've also been to a wedding where things were separated and I did not like it at all. It was very chaotic and we felt left out of a lot of things being in one room while half the wedding was in the other room. I like the idea someone else gave about having all sit outside and just setting up a station inside. I think that's the best way to handle it all, especially if the weather will be nice.

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